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House Policy Development

A Guide to Developing Responsible Business Practices for On-Sale Licensees pdf file


Your business is very important. It is valuable to you, your community, and to the State's economy. You have invested your time, energy and financial resources. Your business offers a place that meets local dining and entertainment needs and provides jobs. The best way to protect your valued business is through responsible business practices. Responsible business practices can help reduce your risk of criminal or administrative charges, and civil lawsuits.

Responsible business practices promote profitability and ensure a comfortable and safe environment for your customers. You should document your responsible business practices in the form of written house policies. If you have none, each employee may have his or her own idea about what the rules are, what they mean, and when they should be applied. House policies offer practical solutions to common problems faced by licensed establishments. With good house policies in place, your employees will not have to make difficult judgment calls about who to serve or how to handle a tough situation – they know what to do because their responsibilities and your expectations are clearly spelled out.

The portion of your house policies for customers are public documents that should be posted in highly visible locations as they are a set of house rules concerning customers' entry and behavior while in your establishment. The portion of your house policies for staff is directly related to the portion for customers, in that it communicates management's expectations of staff regarding sale of alcohol and instructions for denying entry and ejecting undesirables. These policies indicate your establishment's responsible serving practices and intention to comply with the law and should be shared with the Bureau of Liquor Enforcement, the local police, your insurance company, and the community along with your patrons.

This manual is intended to provide guidelines to assist you in developing your own house polices as well as model policies which you can use when creating your policies. You may want to use our "Model House Policies" or modify them to meet your own specific needs, but three factors are common to all successful policies. In order to work, house policies must be written, communicated to your employees and supported by management. Your employees must know that you will back them if they deny service to any customer or ask an unruly guest to leave. House policies create a framework within which your customers can enjoy themselves and your employees can operate both effectively and efficiently. In the long term, the responsible business will build a strong and loyal customer base.

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NH Liquor Commission, Division of Enforcement
50 Storrs Street  |  Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3521